Extra Certifications for Dental Assistants to Boost Your Profile


In today’s highly competitive job market, dental assistants are increasingly adopting a popular strategy of pursuing additional certifications to elevate their careers and distinguish themselves from their peers. 

Obtaining extra certifications opens doors to a wider range of dental assisting job opportunities, increased responsibilities, and, ultimately, higher pay. Many of these certifications can be obtained within a relatively short period. 

In this article, we will explore how earning extra certifications can significantly boost your chances of getting hired and increase your earning potential.

Core Certifications for Dental Assistants

While requirements to work as a dental assistant vary by state, at its core there are three components to become a certified dental assistant (CDA): chairside assisting (GC), infection control (ICE), and radiation health and safety (RHS).

These core certifications provide dental assistants with a solid foundation, enabling them to excel in their roles and pursue further specialization within their industry. You also can learn more about the specific responsibilities and duties by utilizing dental assistant training checklists

In addition to the requirements of national certification, each state may have its own certification exams, registration processes, licensing requirements, or additional criteria for dental assisting.

By earning extra dental assistant certifications, you’re showing hiring managers your commitment to excellence and dedication to the profession. 

Exploring Extra Certifications for Dental Assistants

Dental assistants can also obtain extra certifications to specialize in specific areas. By obtaining extra dental assistant certifications, you can stand out from the competition as a more versatile and valuable candidate. Some of these certifications include: 

  • Certified Dental Assistant – Coronal Polish (CP):  Earning this extra certification demonstrates your expertise in coronal polishing, which involves removing plaque, stains, and tartar from the visible surfaces of teeth.
  • Certified Dental Technician: Pursuing this certification allows dental professionals to demonstrate their technical skills and knowledge of dental procedures such as dentures, crowns and bridges, ceramics, implants, and orthodontics.
  • Expanded Functions Dental Assistant: Similar to the dental technician certification, this certification allows dental assistants to perform advanced tasks, including fillings, impressions, and dental prosthetic adjustments.
  • Orthodontic Dental Assistant (ODA) / Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA): Obtaining this extra certification will demonstrate your competence in assisting with various orthodontic treatments, including braces, aligners, retainers, and other orthodontic appliances. It can open doors to positions with greater responsibility, such as orthodontic treatment coordinator or lead ODA.
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Assistant (OMSA): Getting certified as an OMSA showcases your ability to assist oral surgeons in various surgical interventions, including dental extractions, implant placements, jaw surgeries, and management of facial trauma. It proves your competence in supporting and contributing to these complex procedures.
  • Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA): This certification shows your expertise in preventive dental procedures, including prophylaxis, fluoride application, dental sealant placement, and patient education on oral hygiene. It enhances your ability to provide comprehensive preventive care to patients. 
  • Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant (CRFDA): This certification shows your competence in assisting with dental fillings, crown and bridge preparations, and temporary restoration placement. It broadens your skill set and expands job opportunities in general dentistry, prosthodontic offices, and specialized restorative dentistry settings.
  • Certified Dental Assistant – Sealants (SE): This certification allows you to take on additional responsibilities related to sealant placement, such as properly assessing, preparing, and placing sealants on patients’ teeth. By performing sealant applications, you play a crucial role in promoting oral health and reducing the incidence of dental problems in patients. 
  • Dental X-Ray Certification – Dental Radiography: Obtaining this certification allows dental professionals to operate dental X-ray equipment and capture diagnostic images.
  • Dental Anesthesia Assistant: Earning this extra certification enables you to assume additional responsibilities like patient preparation, vital sign monitoring, and assisting with anesthesia administration. It expands your scope of practice and enhances your contribution to comprehensive patient care.

It’s important to note that the timelines and requirements for each certification vary depending on the program and certifying body in your region. We recommend researching and consulting with the appropriate certifying organization or educational institution for accurate and up-to-date information. Dental practices often prioritize candidates with diverse skills.

By adding these extra certifications to your dental assistant resume, you can increase your employability and potentially earn a higher salary. Remember, the dental industry is constantly evolving. By investing in additional dental assistant certifications, you can advance your career and set yourself up for long-term success.

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